Because I didn’t quite know the ins and outs of budgeting, I continued to fail time after time when trying to get this thing right. I had no idea how much self-discipline and determination it was going to take in order for me to be successful. And I lacked both at that time. Once I started to learn more about how to create a budget that I could stick to, I became that much more determined to keep pressing on. Those mistakes that I made along the way served as learning experiences.
I wanted to address some of the same mistakes that I made when I started budgeting so that you can avoid heartache and wasting precious time and start building a better financial future TODAY. I know firsthand how important it is to get these things under wraps sooner rather than later. By avoiding these 8 mistakes, you’ll be that much more successful with sticking to a budget for as long as you shall live.
Now let’s dive into those mistakes, I’m pretty sure you’ll be thanking me later!
Not accounting for unexpected expenses.
In order to stay on track with your budget, you have to make sure that you’re prepared for the unexpected. Things happen in life, so why don’t you account for those things before they happen? You need to start putting away some funds for emergencies. You can start small, every little bit counts! Ideally, you want to have at least 6-12 months of expenses saved up, but starting with $500 or $1,000 will do the job. This is done to ensure that you aren’t struggling to pay for an unexpected expense and reaching for that credit card to cover it. Avoid using that credit card at all costs!
Not budgeting for fun & leisure.
We all gotta have a little fun here and there, so why would you feel the need to cut it out of your budget completely? This right here is a recipe for disaster bruh. In order for your budget to be successful, it has to be well-rounded. Ideally, you should be spending about 5% of your income or so for entertainment each month. Avoiding these expenses will leave you feeling frustrated and ready to throw in the budgeting towel.
Forgetting the small stuff.
You remember that Snickers you picked up while you were at the gas station or nah? Seriously, these little random, small purchases add up and we tend to forget about them and don’t include them into our budgets. It’s important that you keep track of EVERYTHING if you want your budget to be accurate. Make sure that you are writing these purchases down (the specific item) so you can become more aware of how you’re divvying out your cash.
Forgetting about saving.
If you want to build a solid financial future, then you’ve got to be putting some money aside, duhhh! How else do you expect to be financially free? Your savings is a vital part of your budget. You should be aiming to save at least 10% of your income, but if you can’t save 10%, start small. Every little bit counts and eventually adds up. Just getting into the habit of putting something away will allow you to make it a lifestyle. You can increase your savings as you go. If you can, try automating your savings. Set it up so that you savings automatically comes out of your paycheck so that you won’t have to worry about it. Trust me, this really works!
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Playing the guessing game.
You can’t just be making up estimates in your mind. You have to review your financial statements religiously to determine how much you should be spending on each of your expenses. If you play the guessing game, you can leave room for error because most likely, you’re going to be under estimating your expenses. Take out some time to review your checking account purchases and categorize each one. Then you will need to total up each category to see what you typically spend.
Never making changes/updates (using the same budget each month).
While some expenses are fixed and pretty much cost the same each month, there are some things that will change. If you’re human like I’m sure you are, then you’ll be doing different things and have certain obligations based on that particular month. Don’t make the mistake of not accounting for these changes. This is where the importance of planning comes into play. You should already have an idea of some of the things that you will need to take into account for the next month. Make sure you’re building these changes into your budget and you’ll be good to go.
Dipping into other funds.
Listen, don’t make this huge mistake that I used to make time and time again. Don’t use your grocery or gas money to go to the mall! That will leave you high and dry and then when it’s time to actually grocery shop or fill up the tank, you’re put in between a rock and a hard place. This is where most people go wrong and the credit cards are whipped out to cover those expenses. If you continue to find yourself running out of money in a certain area way before you should be, then you need to reevaluate your entire budget.
Living too lavishly.
Now, my motto is that you can still be fly and do the things that you enjoy while budgeting. But don’t be overboard with it now. Please live within your means, or better yet, below your means so that you can “live like no one else” (shoutout to Dave Ramsey) in the future. Right now, you have goals in mind. You have debt to pay off and money to stack so take a chill pill on the overindulging. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
I pray that my past experiences can help you navigate in this budget lifestyle. By avoiding these mistakes, you’ll be able to accomplish anything. Remember, the process takes a bit of time to get the hang of things, so be extremely patient with yourself. If you find yourself making one of these mistakes, identify the what and the WHY and a plan for how you will continue. Don’t dwell on your mistakes because that will paralyze you from moving forward. Now go start budgeting like a boss!
Now let’s talk about it. Are you guilty of making some of these budgeting mistakes? Sound off in the comments, I wanna hear from you!
P.S. If you thought that this was insanely awesome or made you think about someone that you know, please share this with them!
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